October 17th, 2008
05:29 PM ET
12 years ago

Palin speaks to reporters about Ayers, Wright, state of the race

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/17/art.palinplane1017.jpg caption="Gov. Palin spoke with reporters on her campaign plane Friday."]
MUNCIE, Indiana (CNN) - On a brief flight from Ohio to Indiana on Friday, Sarah Palin spoke to reporters traveling with her campaign for just the second time this election cycle.

Watch: Palin chats with the press

During a seven-minute back and forth with the press, Palin was asked why her campaign was focusing on Barack Obama’s relationship with William Ayers, even though Obama has much closer ties to his controversial former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. The Alaska governor lamented Obama’s relationship with Wright, but said the decision to make it a campaign issue is John McCain’s.

“He sat in the pews for 20 years and heard Rev. Wright say some things that most people would find a bit concerning,” she said. “But again that is John McCain's call.”

Though the McCain campaign is being forced to defend traditional GOP strongholds like North Carolina and Indiana this late in the election season, Palin said “my input has been, let us get out there to as many states as we have time for.”

“I think it's wise not to take anything for granted and assume that any state is a lock for either ticket,” she said.

She also talked about what she meant when she said she enjoyed visiting "pro-America" areas, whether or not she believes Barack Obama loves America, and her upcoming appearance on Saturday Night Live.

The transcript of Palin’s full remarks are after the jump.

October 17, 2008
Flight from Ohio to Indiana


QUESTION: So how come you've dropped the attacks on Obama and Ayers lately?

A: Well, I think that American voters are understanding that association - that it's OK to talk about fact. Of course, Barack Obama had been bringing it up, even in challenging John McCain on that, saying if you want to talk about it, talk about it, too, so McCain did that, and the association is out there. It's up now to the people of America to decide whether that association is important enough to them to research and find out more about a person's judgment and truthfulness.

QUESTION: Just to follow up on that, you said that, you know, 'Obama doesn't see America the way you and I see America.' Do you think Obama loves America as much as you do?

A: I know Obama loves America. I'm sure that is why he's running for president. It's because he wants to do what he believes is in the best interest of this great nation. I believe that our ticket can do a better job for America as we reduce taxes and reign in government and allow our private sector and our families to prosper, to grow, and to keep more of what they earn and produce so that they can reinvest according to our own priorities. I think that that is best to get the economy back on track. It's a better agenda for America. But I don't question at all Barack Obama's love for this great country

QUESTION: It's unusual for a Republican campaign to be campaigning in North Carolina and Indiana halfway through October in an election year, are you concerned you are spending resources in states and places you shouldn't be?

A: I think it's wise not to take anything for granted and assume that any state is a lock for either ticket, so if there were more hours in the day and more availabilities I would hope that we can be in even more states, even those that maybe we're down in, maybe those that we assume are a lock. I don't want to take anything for granted, and my input has been: let us get out there to as many states as we have time for.

QUESTION: Governor, the Washington Post and Peggy Noonan both said independently today that you are unqualified to be commander in chief. How do you respond to that?

A: Well, we talked a lot already about my executive experience that will be put to good use as vice president and if heaven forbid, anything happened to John McCain, if we're so blessed to be elected president and vice president, that executive experience will be put to good use, as coming from a mayor and a manager, small business owner and a governor and a regulator of oil and gas. That's important, but as important is the world view that I share with John McCain and the intentions that we have there to put in place policies that will put government back on the side of the American people and we'll win these wars and help secure our nation. Those things all put together will be put to good use and if I felt I was not ready I would never have said yes, I wanna take on this responsibility, this challenge, this opportunity to run for vice president as his partner.

QUESTION: You talk a lot about voter fraud. How concerned are you guys about that and what can you do at this point when we're just 18 days out to kind of put any safeguards in place?

A: I think voters are very concerned about voter fraud and as more and more revelation comes in these 13 states that are now under investigation for potential voter fraud, I think that more American voters are becoming very very concerned. There are safeguards already that are in place but evidently they're not being adhered to or implemented certainly in Ohio if the secretary there not seeming to desire to reassure voters that all securities are being taken care of to make sure that there is no, there's no fraudulent activity at all, that those who are registered to vote are eligible to vote. And obviously there's proof that that is not happening right now. So American voters are concerned about this, I'm concerned about it.

QUESTION: Did you ask John McCain to bring up Reverend Wright more, and if so what did he say?

A: No I have not asked him to bring it up.

FOLLOW-UP: Do you think he should?

A: It's up to him you know and what he chooses to discuss. I think that calling someone - an opponent on their record and even on their associations isn't - it's not mean spirited. It's not negative campaigning. It is fair to the electorate to have the discussion - the debate about someone's record and associations, but I haven't advised Senator McCain on who he should bring up and what his topics of discussion should be.

QUESTION: How often during the day do you talk to Sen. McCain?

A: A couple of times of day. And we really enjoy being able to campaign together, and I wish we could do more of that together, because we have I think some great synergy and really great chemistry and we get along so well, that not only is it very productive but it's also fun to be able to campaign with him. He's got so much energy and it's always a good time for all of our camps and our families to be together but we speak on the phone on the phone when we're not physically there together campaigning together on the trail.

FOLLOW-UP: What do you talk about?

A: We talk about the news of the day, about what the issues are that seem to be resonating that, certainly, that you all are reporting on. And just a lot of reinforcement and encouragement of each other that again we are on the right track and explaining to all Americans our plans to reduce taxes and to get our economy back on track. They're great conversations, and very productive, very helpful for both of us.

QUESTION: Are you excited for tomorrow night (SNL appearance)? Can you give us a preview?

A: Oh man. I'm excited for tomorrow night. I have no idea what to expect because I haven't seen any scripts or anything else yet, but it will be fun. The opportunity to show American television watchers anyway that you get to have a sense of humor through all of this or even just this really would be wearin', tearin' on you so an opportunity to show that sense of humor and that side of all of this I look forward to it.

QUESTION: Isn't Reverend Wright a lot more relevant than Bill Ayers? I mean, he sat in his pews for 20 years.

A: That's up to John McCain to decide. That's true. He sat in the pews for 20 years and heard Reverend Wright say some things that most people would find a bit concerning. But again that is John McCain's call.

QUESTION: Last night at the fundraiser you made a comment about the area being a pro-America area of the country. I was wondering if you could explain that a little bit more, what you meant by pro-America?

A: Every area, every area across this great country where we're stopping and where also the other ticket is stopping and getting to speak at these rallies and speak with the good Americans, it's all pro-America. I was just reinforcing the fact that there, where I was, there's good patriotic people there in these rallies, so excited about positive change and reform of government that's coming that they are so appreciative of hearing our message, hearing our plan. Not, not any one area of America is more pro-America patriotically than others.

QUESTION: Are you going back to Alaska to vote?

A: We don't know what the plan will be yet on there if - if I'm not there physically we will be applying for that absentee ballot and we'll do the early voting there. Yeah. And we'll do it fairly.

Filed under: Sarah Palin
soundoff (140 Responses)
  1. Monroe W. DeVos

    She better hurry on her Absentee Ballot. Request must be received 10 days prior to the election. Oooooops...maybe I shouldn't have said anything!

    October 17, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  2. reggie

    she will be back in alaska on nov 5th. please stay there

    October 17, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  3. tulsa


    October 17, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  4. ran

    I love it when this person talks. It just solidifies how stupid/racist she is. I feel sorry for Alaska who I suspect will not be voting her back into office.

    So for the good of our country keep on talking and even the far right of the republicans will turn off from "this one"

    Vote Obama/Biden to get our country back for the good.

    October 17, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  5. E

    Wait a minute, she wants to investigate church happenings? Can she explain why the videos of her sermons at her church have been swiped from the internet and the transcripts stripped of most of what she said? Anyone who saw it knows why it was erased, it was the insane ramblings of a religious fanatic talking about listing to God and fighting a holy war! I'd rather have someone who sat in a service, than the person who GAVE the insane lectures!

    October 17, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  6. Jessica

    The American people DO deserve some answers before the election. So why don't you start answering some yourself, Sarah Palin???

    October 17, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  7. Independent for Obama!!

    Did Palin speak about her unethical behavior and abuse of power? I wouldn't think so!!! Palin is a joke and Mccain was stupid to choose her!

    October 17, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  8. Sarah in Michigan

    She is the most inarticulate politician ever. It is grating to even read.

    October 17, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  9. Barrie

    She is so pathetic.

    Let's look into her husband's 'party' in which she supported.

    She is not going to listen to anyone. She wants to be president. She could careless about McCain. Palin is about Palin. She is an abusive leader and divisive.

    Heaven help us if she gets near the White House.

    October 17, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  10. Val, Atlanta, Ga

    Sarah Sarah Sarah I am more concerned about the pews you sat in and the pulpit you stood on while being prayed over by the witch doctor minister, and while we are being truthful can you for ONCE say that you were found guilty of abuse of power and unethical behavior, its all in the paper all over the United States and you continue to lie about it, if we are going to talk about some one elses truthfulness it needs to start with SELF.

    October 17, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |

    Sarah Palin is a joke !!!! Please America do the right thing on Nov 4 !!!

    October 17, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  12. actnow

    Why doesn't Palin talk more about what McCain and Palin going to for the people in detail? They spend too much time talking about Obama and not what they are going to do. Is it because they have no plans?

    October 17, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  13. Charlotte

    He knew Rev. Wright for 20 years and never knew his disposition? Give me a break, that is such a bald face lie.

    October 17, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  14. Mark Ferbet

    Out of her league. Give her another ten years, then maybe.

    I am sure that SNL will be quite interesting tonight... wonder if the audience will boo her.....

    October 17, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  15. (Former) Lifelong Republican for Obama, Columbia, TN

    God help us all if Palin becomes President!!!

    October 17, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  16. Lilly

    Can we ask her about her church? What's this I hear about witchcraft?

    October 17, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  17. Michael

    OMG, she just sounds pathetic!!!!!!!!!!!

    Are the reporters sure that wasn't Tina Fay they were talking to????

    October 17, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  18. I enjoy my rights as a woman

    Sure Palin, we would love to talk about Ayers and Rev. Wright!

    Why don't you tell us about the Alaskan Independence Party and secession from the U.S.A.? And what about Bishop Muthee and his witch hunts? Any other interesting people you "pal around with"?

    Obama/Biden '08!

    October 17, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  19. WY Woman

    Go back to Alaska and face the music – oh – I mean the impeachment proceedings, the ethics violations, the abuse of power

    October 17, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  20. emma

    is there anything sensible that Palin can talk about besides inciting her base. May be she should be talking about her plans to fix the economy and not all this character based attacks which are obviously lies and smears. Double talk huh?

    October 17, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  21. Margi

    Just 18 more days left of this nonsense. I, like so many have already vote and will be glad when this is officially over.

    Obama/Biden 08'

    October 17, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  22. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    I voted early for Obama/Biden '08 – long lines, but no problems.

    October 17, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  23. Amy

    Now there are "good Americans"...who are the bad Americans? Democrats?

    She's trying to backpedal and say all areas are pro-America. Why did she differentiate between areas in the first place?

    October 17, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  24. Chris

    Palin wants ACORN transarency?

    how about this:
    "spoke to reporters traveling with her campaign for just the second time this election cycle"

    October 17, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  25. Cindy

    Good luck to the Americans if you elect this ticket...you think your world image is suffering right now!

    October 17, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6